Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of UB Global

Hundreds of people have been killed in Nicaragua since April 18 in what has become a popular uprising against the Central American country’s president, Daniel Ortega, and his government.

We invite all our churches to join us in prayer for Nicaragua this coming Sunday, October 14. You can use this Powerpoint slide (1920x1080px).

Below is an update we received at the UB Global office this morning (October 10) from our national leader, Bishop Armando Lopez.

“The situation is still very difficult, as there is no security for anyone, even foreigners. Everything has been deeply politicized, and there is a profound economic crisis at present. The cost of living has increased 70 percent, and fuel by 20 percent. Unemployment shot up to almost 300,000 unemployed. The crisis has driven away tourism, which was one of the major economic drivers. Restaurants and hotels have had to close their doors and lay off employees. Add to this tropical depression Michael that flooded farm fields and neighborhoods. Thousands of victims are in shelters, such as churches or houses, having lost almost everything.

“As a result of these pressures, the crisis is hitting everyone, not simply the poorest, who already live with very little. In addition, there are serious threats from the United States of sanctions against Nicaragua to force the government to negotiate with its citizens. These sanctions would be the withdrawal of international loans that would hit Nicaragua very hard. Pray concerning the lack of food to feed the hungry, and the treatment of the sick. We are concerned for those in Niquinohomo who have been particularly hard hit with health concerns.

“Political persecution remains strong, resulting in thousands of young people migrating to Costa Rica. More than 500 people are being held as political prisoners, accused of terrorism, and tortured by the police and paramilitary forces. Even though the new stories no longer appear in your newspapers or news broadcasts, the protests in the street continue, although not so many people, due to the risk of arrest, torture, and death.

“We as a church remain neutral, praying and counseling our brothers and helping the needy with what we can. We ask that you not give up praying. Nicaragua is not another Cuba, or another Venezuela, and we appreciate all the spiritual help that God provides as a result of your prayers. We will remain in touch. May God bless and keep you.”


Julie Hui (left) and Lai Au Yeung.

Julie Hui and Lai Au Yeung, from United Brethren churches in Hong Kong, have been part of our international team in Thailand since October 2016. Both have now completed their two-year commitments and have returned to Hong Kong.

Julie and Lai were a crucial part of beginning the friendships and ministries around the UB community center in Chiang Rai, and modeling Christ’s love to those around them.

Lai returned to Hong Kong in early June to continue her teaching role in a kindergarden. Julie, who graduated from Huntington University in May 2016, left Thailand in September. However, she will remain involved by overseeing the Thailand ministry for Hong Kong Conference.

Members of the UB Global team are heading across the Atlantic this week.

On Wednesday, Executive Director Jeff Bleijerveld will fly to Paris, France. A congregation of Haitian immigrants on the outskirts of the city is interested in becoming United Brethren. The connection comes through Rev. Oliam Richard, superintendent of our churches in Haiti, who planted this church 20 years ago.

On Thursday, associate director Michelle Harris leaves for a week in Sierra Leone. She’ll meet with our three missionaries at Mattru Hospital—Dr. Jon and Heleen Yoder, and Pamela McKee. Our missionaries work under high pressure all of the time, so spending a few days away from the hospital and talking about the future will be a welcome and valuable time. She will also meet with Abdul, the new business manager who oversees the solar and water projects based at Mattru Hospital.

Missionary Roger Reeck is undergoing a bone fusion operation on his right foot today (October 1). Marilyn says an orthopedic surgeon from Oregon is flying to Honduras with a team to spend a week doing surgeries. She says, “Besides for straightening the foot, potentially it could lead to less pain.”

Roger and Marilyn Reeck (right) are endorsed UB missionaries serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators. They are based in La Ceiba, Honduras, but consult with Wycliffe projects in Africa and Latin America.

Roger returned to Honduras from Brazil on Thursday night, where he worked with the Yaminawa translation team. One of the four persons was from Bolivia and the other three from Brazil. They checked half of Luke, Mark, and Acts during the three week session.

Marilyn returned from Colombia on Friday night. She had travelled to the Colombia/Venezuela border where a training session was held for Venezuelan pastors and their wives and other church workers. There were two groups of 36 people and seven trainers.

Marilyn writes, “There are so many stories of the suffering of the Venezuelan people. Great groups of people are trying to migrate to other South American countries, and a great number of them do not have money to travel by bus. They walk for several weeks. But, in order to get to the adjoining country and beyond, they have to walk over a high mountain pass. They do not have adequate clothing to keep them warm and many have died. They walk for several weeks. Pray that God’s people find ways to set up assistance along the way.”

UPDATE ON TUESDAY FROM MARILYN: “The operation lasted 4 hours but everything turned out great.”

Chris and Nichie Stonall

Congratulations to Nichie Parish on her recent marriage to Chris Stonall. Nichie is from the McCallum UB church in Delton, Mich. She joined the UB Global staff in 2014, and has been serving with Impact Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chris is a native of Johannesburg, and is self-employed there.

Here’s a note from Nichie’s latest prayer letter: “In December, Chris and I will travel to America to celebrate Christmas and our marriage with our family and friends there. While there, I’ll be applying for a new visa that will allow me to stay here in South Africa and continue my work with Impact Africa, and catching up with supporters and churches!”

Brian and Rachel Glunt and children.

We have a new missionary! Madeline Rose Glunt was born August 28, 2018, in Thailand, where her parents and three older siblings are missionaries with UB Global. Six pounds, 7 oz. Proud father Brian writes, “Mom and Maddie are both beautiful and doing great!”

This year’s Thank Offering bulletin insert

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of UB Global

We are preparing for this year’s Thanksgiving Missions Offering, which we are hoping will provide the $50,000 needed to complete the Community Center we are constructing in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Already, our multi-national team has been working to develop friendships in the community by gathering children, youth, and adults into their homes to participant in painting, practice music, and take classes in English and Mandarin. Their ultimate goal is to build rapport and trust so that they can share the gospel and invite them to become followers of Christ.

There is no set procedure for gathering an offering. A missions speaker could be invited, a harvest dinner held, or a program presented. We will be sending bulletin inserts free of charge that can be used to announce the offering the week prior to Thanksgiving. A short video will highlight the project.

We are mailing you an order form for optional Thank Offering envelopes should you wish to include them in your bulletin along with the insert. Please complete the order form and return it to us no later than September 12 for our Canadian churches, and October 16 for those in the United States. You may also email us at jana@ub.org or call toll free at 888-622-3019.

Let us know if there is anything we can do to make this Thanksgiving a meaningful time of celebrating what God is doing to grow His kingdom.


The Datema family (l-r): Callie, Julie, Jill, Culyer, Cathie, and Dave.

Dave and Cathie Datema are endorsed UB missionaries serving with Frontier Ventures in Pasadena, Calif. Dave’s role has changed a couple of time during the past two years. Here is an explanation from their most recent newsletter.

“Dave has been assigned to serve as Facilitator for a newly-appointed Missiology Task Force. This role will extend through April 2019, and Dave will be working with six other people within Frontier Ventures. The purpose of the group is to evaluate the missiological ‘voice’ of Frontier Ventures and make recommendations to leadership about moving it forward.

“‘Missiology’ is just a fancy word for the study of missions. Every mission organization prioritizes certain aspects of missions above others, and we are no different. The landscape of missions is constantly changing, and ideas come and go. This task force was created to analyze and evaluate how we think about missions and how that may need to change. It is also interested in ensuring that our voice as an organization, represented by our various programs and publications, is integrated and aligned. Our organization has been known for being a thought leader in missions, so this task force is an essential part of what we do.”

Other News from the Datema Family

  • Dave recently completed a sabbatical, and has begun a PhD program.
  • Callie, the oldest of the three daughters (19), is building a support team as she prepares for service with ACTS (Antioch Center for Training and Sending). She will spend eight months in Bible training in Colorado Springs, and then be deployed for two years to South Asia, where she will work in an area in the Himalayas that has 266 unreached people groups.
  • Jill (16) recently spent two weeks with a team of youth from her church in a nation in Southeast Asia. She joined local believers in visiting a hospital to pray for the sick, and played with children whose mothers are involved in the sex industry.

For several years, Honduras Conference has been struggling with serious financial issues focused around the Bethel Institute in La Ceiba, a school begun during the 1970s. The school faces a $1.4 million debt.

Last weekend, the conference board voted to proceed with selling the school. On Monday, Superintendent Gonzalo Alas (right) traveled to San Pedro Sula to meet with potential buyers. The buyers will meet with the conference board on August 31.

In addition, the bank had threatened to start foreclosure proceedings last Saturday. However, just in time, the conference secured funds to cover part of the interest on the loan, and the bank backed off from starting foreclosure. However, funds will be needed for upcoming payments. They need about $13,000 to bring payments up to date.

Completing the sale of the Bethel school will take a few months, but the sale will only cover an estimated 70% of the total debt, which includes unpaid salaries, delinquent pension payments, and loans.

Please keep Honduras Conference in your prayers as they wrestle with these daunting issues. Pray especially for our national leader, Rev. Gonzalo Alas, who is seeking to guide the conference out of this situation while continuing to encourage pastors and churches in their local ministries. These financial issues distract from his passion of church planting, and also affects the conference’s ability to support their missionaries, Milton and Erika Pacheco, who are serving in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Hannah Barrett (right) is a new member of the UB Global staff. In less than two weeks, she leaves for Thailand, where she will teach students from many nationalities (including Thai) in an international school in Chiang Rai. Hannah graduated in May 2018 from Huntington University, with a degree in Elementary Education with a TESOL certification.

Chiang Rai International Christian School (CRICS) keeps its tuition very affordable so that locals and missionary children can attend. All teachers raise their support to be there. Hannah has already been to CRICS twice—once on a January Term trip and another for student teaching.

Hannah will serve in Thailand for one year as part of UB Global’s Jump Start program. Jump Start is designed to provide a streamlined process for recent graduates to serve on a United Brethren field for a shorter period (1-2 years) and discern God’s longer-term calling.

We already have an international team of ten persons serving in Chiang Rai. If you are interested in learning more about Hannah’s ministry, getting on her update list, or supporting her, contact us at info@ub.org.